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Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God which has
been given in the churches of Macedonia,  that in a great ordeal of
affliction their abundance of joy and their deep poverty overflowed in
the wealth of their liberality.  For I testify that according to their
ability, and beyond their ability they gave of their own accord,  begging
us with much entreaty for the favor of participation in the support of
the saints,  and this, not as we had expected, but they first gave themselves
to the Lord and to us by the will of God.
For the two weeks before Easter and the two weeks after Easter, we will be celebrating faithfulness at our church. Our focus is upon God's faithfulness to bless those who are faithful to attend, serve and give. During this time, you will listen to sermons from me and from other church members that highlight a different aspect of faithfulness. You'll see several video clips like we just saw and read and listen to testimonies from some of our faithful servants about God's faithfulness. We'll have a movie night, next Sunday night, complete with popcorn and we'll complete the emphasis with a "Faithfulness Fiesta"-a time to enjoy good food and learn about ways you can get involved in the ministries of our church.
Later in the service, we're going to do a verse by verse study of the
passage of scripture I just read, but for now, I want to introduce Sam
Varner to you. Today is Sam's last Sunday in our church, so I want to begin
by saying goodbye to him and then give him a chance to tell us about how
God has blessed him through some difficult days as he remained faithful
Some things to notice about the faithfulness of the Macedonian Christians.
Vs. 1 "Now, brethren, we wish to make known to you the grace of God
which has been given in the churches of Macedonia," Ultimately, Paul was
not drawing attention to what these people did, but to God's grace and
the way it flowed through them to others. That's a decent definition of
faithfulness-allowing God's grace to flow through you to others.
Faithful people are not always the most talented or the most visible.
Many of them minister in the obscurity of holiness. Just doing their thing
because they love their Lord. The emphasis is not on them, or what they
are doing-the emphasis is on the Lord.
Vs. 2 "that in a great ordeal of affliction their abundance of joy and
their deep poverty overflowed in the wealth of their liberality." We often
think of big givers as being wealthy people, not ordinary working stiffs,
but that isn't necessarily true. Notice the language Paul used-abundance
of joy-deep poverty-wealth of their liberality. In the midst of their deep
poverty, these people had abundant joy and great wealth-not in money, but
Some people have good intentions on being faithful to tithe. They know it is the right thing to do and that it is necessary for the work of the Lord to go forward, but they wait for the time to be right to start. They wait until they have extra money or until they think they can afford it. But these people, gave out of their poverty, not their wealth.
I'd agree that people with great resources give. Not financial resources, but faith resources. We will only give when we have enough faith in God to take care of us.
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